Matthew 6:7

Use not vain repetitions (mh battaloghshte). Used of stammerers who repeat the words, then mere babbling or chattering, empty repetition. The etymology is uncertain, but it is probably onomatopoetic like "babble." The worshippers of Baal on Mount Carmel ( 1 Kings 8:26 ) and of Diana in the amphitheatre at Ephesus who yelled for two hours ( Acts 19:34 ) are examples. The Mohammedans may also be cited who seem to think that they "will be heard for their much speaking" (en th polulogiai). Vincent adds "and the Romanists with their paternosters and avast." The Syriac Sinaitic has it: "Do not be saying idle things." Certainly Jesus does not mean to condemn all repetition in prayer since he himself prayed three times in Gethsemane "saying the same words again" ( Matthew 26:44 ). "As the Gentiles do," says Jesus. "The Pagans thought that by endless repetitions and many words they would inform their gods as to their needs and weary them ('fatigare deos') into granting their requests" (Bruce).